“[From] Tea Party Republicans to liberal Democrats, more than four-in-five American voters say that conserving our country’s natural resources—our land, air and water—is patriotic.”
A recent poll found that both Republicans and Democrats agree that it is a patriotic duty to protect national parks. What’s more, people from all backgrounds and lifestyles agree that our parks should be protected, and 83% of all pollsters said that they were willing to pay more taxes to protect the natural resources in their area. Not only do urban hipsters and retired birders both agree that the U.S. can have both a strong economy and a strong “back yard;” but they also agree that, “even with federal budget problems, funding to safeguard land, air and water should not be cut.”
I believe that if we took the time to poll a few more people on other environmental issues, we’d find that both conservatives and liberals agree on much much more. Including, the need to be efficient in our energy use in our homes, i.e., “Shut that front door already, we’re not heating the entire neighborhood!” (Thanks for reminding me, Dad!) And repurposing your wardrobe can still be stylish, “Why do you need to buy another pair of black pants? Just hem the ones that you have.” (Says my very liberal Mom.) I grew up in a home that recycled before recycling was offered in our neighborhood, that composted before it became cool, and always, always, always kept the thermostat at just above freezing in the winter. In fact, my nickname growing up was, “Put on a sweater and stop complaining.”
When did common sense become such polarizing topics? Growing up, my parents rode bikes everywhere, not because it was liberal or cool, but because gas was expensive and they still wanted to go places. We spent vacations at National Parks not because we were thru-hiking the AT, but because it was cheap, and the vistas beat anything that was available on cable television. I doubt that my very conservative father would think that shopping at local farmers markets are part of a “movement,” and a liberal one at that – as a kid from rural Delaware, he would rather die than eat anything other than just-picked corn on the cob. (Supermarket corn just does not compare!)
Isn’t protecting our nation’s resources – and I do mean all of our national treasures – patriotic? Why are we fighting against our own best interest? How did “reduce, reuse, recycle” become the slogan for only half of Americans instead of every American? Clearly we can all agree that National Parks are amazing – I’m sure that there are many other ways that we can all come together – any suggestions?